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Lightning Strike Unveiled – Pricing Starts at $12,998

After a long tease, Lightning Motorcycles announced the Strike sport bike yesterday. The electric motorcycle, in its various iterations, is impressive, but the starting price of $12,998 for the standard version is a story in itself.

The Strike borrows cues from the more expensive LS-218 model, and boasts excellent aerodynamics, according to Lightning.

The liquid-cooled engine makes 90 horsepower and 180 pound/feet of torque in the standard and mid-range models, while the “Carbon Edition” puts out a claimed 120 horsepower with the same peak torque.

The three versions range in weight from 465 pounds to 485 pounds. That torque figure, 180 pound/feet, is not a misprint. These bikes should offer some insane acceleration.

Prices range from the standard model starting at $12,998 to the mid-range model at $16,998 (features a larger battery with additional range), and the Carbon Edition priced at $19,998 (horsepower is bumped up to 120 hp, and the battery is a huge 20kWh). Claimed city range starts at 100 miles on the standard model up to 200 miles on the Carbon Edition with its much larger battery.

The Carbon Edition not only gets a larger battery and more power, it features Öhlins suspension, Brembo monoblock brakes, up-rated instrumentation and carbon fiber body pieces. This model also includes a faster charging system that is available as an option on the other models.

Lightning indicates the Carbon Edition will be the first model available beginning this July.


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76 Comments

  1. Randybobandy says:

    The price on their website says $43,000.00 USD. It looks like these will be a lot more expensive than this article states.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Will I have to keep this on a battery tender if I only use it every couple of weeks?

    • Reginald Van Blunt says:

      Recently asked the same Q at a ZERO dealer. The ‘ Battery Tender ‘ will not work, and may be completely wrong for a Li battery. Sales fella said that some one is working on an appropriate ‘ BT ‘ type charger. I think one effort was by Yamaha, but not sure. Li batts are very specific how to charge, and although holding a charge longer, can be a little tricky in cold weather. I am assuming this blue porch bike is Li.

      ‘My comment is awaiting moderation. This is a preview, your comment will be visible after it has been approved’. Everybody invited to the same dance or just van blunts ?

    • Magnus says:

      Short answer is no. Keeping a lithium ion battery between 80% and 30% keeps its lifespan at an optimum during extended storage. Just check it once a week to ensure the battery doesn’t drop below 30% and you’re good. Top it up the day before you go out. Phew, soooo much maintenance!

  3. Grover says:

    Even though I’m a huge fan of ICE, it’s hard to ignore the fact that electric is the future. Even if technology moves at a slower pace than most predict, eclectric powered vehicles will be the norm. Also, government entities will require it whether we like it or not. The range and recharging time will eventually be solved and petroleum products will be limited to the airlines, rails, trucking and power generation. Do I like it? Not especially, since a Ducati or any other beautiful sounding bike just wouldn’t be the same with only an electric whir and chain noise to accompany the experience. A powerful V-twin resonating off the canyon walls is something that the old timers will try to relate to a future generation that knows only electric. Who knows, perhaps in the future they’ll drag out an old 427 Cobra at the county fair and start it up to reveal the glory of the old days to a generation that is half Borg/half human and no concept of freedom.

  4. Jim says:

    Now, release a naked version and kill the Livewire outright.

    • Magnus says:

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass_battery (no “the”)
      Interesting stuff. All you naysayers remember, ICE vehicles have been focus engineered for over a century. Electric vehicles are just starting…if you want to compare apples to apples try comparing electric motorcycles to 1910’s motorbikes. That’s about the time they were still strapping ICEs to bicycles…sounds oddly familiar…1903 HD had pedals and no gears…1909 HD still had pedals but a V twin still without gears…it wasn’t until 1913 that HD had a “real” motorcycle with gears and no pedals. That’s 10 years of developement. Zero has been in business since 2006 and started shipping street legal motorcycles in 2010. That’s about the same kind of timeline. I’d bet on a 2019 Zero racing against a 1913 HD or any 1913 motorcycle any day, even a 24hr endurance race.

      • Anonymous says:

        Technology tends toward a domino effect, if you will. As for you betting on a 2019 Zero racing against a 1913 HD or any 1913 motorcycle?

        That’s just stupid of you to even proffer that and the only point it makes is that you are incapable of making a valid one using that example.

        And no, this doesn’t mean you are stupid because it’s quite obvious you are not. It means what I said. Your choice was/is/remains stupid and invalid. Please don’t pull a Ralph W. and trigger down. We all know that in general, newer tech is better than old tech. 🙂

      • todd says:

        An electric motorcycle would be DNF in a 24 hour event. You would be much better off with a 1913 motorcycle, even with having to replace the tires on the side of the road a couple times.

        • Rhinestone Kawboy says:

          So you’re saying that an ICE motorcycle can run a full 24 hours without refueling? Don’t think so. The same would apply to an electric bike, you run them until the battery gets so low, then “refuel” with a battery replacement. Battery replacement in electric vehicles are not commonplace yet, but I think they will be as time goes on, especially on a motorcycle where it won’t be as big or hard to get too.

          • todd says:

            Refueling a motorcycle with actual fuel takes seconds. Refueling an electric bike with electricity takes much of the 24 hours, maybe 8 hours of charge for every hour spent at race speeds. You can wait for a company to come out with a quick-change battery pack but gas tanks have been refuelable since long before 1913.

          • Rhinestone Kawboy says:

            Todd, I don’t need to wait for battery swap to be invented, it already exists with one of the Zero models, and some EV autos have this capability. Many advances are being developed or proven at this time, so waiting for them will be worth the wait, as we “waited” for autos to be originally invented.

        • Magnus says:

          I’d bet on the Lightening over a 1913 motorcycle. In 1922, the first Bol’dor 24 hr endurance race, 1245km were covered (773 miles). It take 30 minutes to charge the Lightening, even at 80% that would take it 160 miles per hour of charging. The lightening would have to average 65mph for 12 hrs to beat the 1922 record. Math says good bet.

      • Jim says:

        This only makes sense if you could set aside the huge advantage of current production techniques and technologies compared to those used over a century ago.
        Which you can’t.
        You’re comparing apples to corn.

        • Magnus says:

          I’m comparing progress to progress. In 10 years HD went from pedals and bolt on motors to real motorcycles. Everything seems to be advancing quicker these days. Electrics will advance quicker than ICEs did. By the 20’s there were 4 valve heads and reliable spark plugs. What will electrics have in another 10 years of progress?

          • Jeremy says:

            Electrics aren’t new. We’re looking at a couple of hundred years worth of progress and development. These are very mature technologies, just like ICEs, and they basically need a miracle of chemistry to take the next step. It could happen tomorrow I suppose, but I’m not counting on it.

  5. Ickey McStick says:

    Blue is such a poor choice for an initial showing, sorta like porch paint, then a black backround . Light ! Lotsa light ! People Want to see clearly.

    • Rhinestone Kawboy says:

      Blue as initial color is bad? Not really, blue is commonly accepted as indicating an EV- just look at the badges on most if not all current Electric cars. The black background is probably just to give a little suspense to the unveiling. They may not want to reveal too much at the moment.

  6. Reginald Van Blunt says:

    I like how one can SEE the motor unlike most ICE bikes now. And the go thing isn’t all black.

    12:27 am Saturday

  7. Mikey says:

    I’ve said it many times before…I will never own an electric bike, car maybe but bike NO.
    But, ya know, this thing ain’t bad. No.

    Anyway, as usual, Harley Davidson is well behind the curve with their $30,000 Livewire. Cool name tho.

    • Reginald Van Blunt says:

      HD Chrome costs.

    • Rhinestone Kawboy says:

      While I’m not particularly a Harley fan, they are actually well within the curve for the Livewire. It appears to be a very well designed and equipped electric bike with top notch components and apps to go with it. I will say though, that the $30,000 price, regardless of these top notch components is just too expensive for most regular folks at this time. Of course, that $30,000 is msrp, depending on the numbers that they are shooting for in sales, the OTD price may be something completely different. I think they did a very good job in designing the look too to reflect a decided Harley look as well.

  8. todd says:

    With 90 to 120 horsepower it will accelerate about the same as a 485 pound 600 super sport. Don’t confuse torque numbers at the crank/motor output shaft with power or acceleration. You will find that most motorcycles will be producing more torque at the rear wheel in the lower gears than an electric bike like this.

    • Ken says:

      Power is not a measure of acceleration, torque is. Electric motors produce maximum torque at zero rpm. An ICE bike might make more torque at at its max torque rpm but an electric bike will piss all over an ICE bike of ‘equivalent power’ off the mark every time. No power interruptions for gear changes with electric either. Just twist ‘n go (fast!)

      • YouHadToGoThere says:

        Here we go.

      • todd says:

        Nope, power. I used to work on electric vehicle propulsion. If you look at something like the KTM Super Duke which only produces 106 ft-lb, first consider its primary and secondary gear reductions: that 106 becomes 1,324 ft-lb at the rear wheel in first gear. This electric bike with a 180 ft-lb at the motor has a single reduction ratio at around 4.3:1 which translates to 774 ft-lb at the rear wheel. There of course are drivetrain drag considerations that reduce these numbers typically 10 to 15 percent. You will see now that a bike like the Duke will crush the Lightning coming out of the hole – assuming you can manage to keep the front end on the ground. Torque measured at the wheel considers gear advantages and brings in the variable of RPM and calls this “power”. Power is what matters.

        Doesn’t my usual 150 ft-lb bicycle analogy ever sink in? Why do people still talk about crank torque numbers as if they are meaningful to acceleration?

      • todd says:

        I first calculated incorrectly. If they say top speed is 135 and the bike is producing 120hp at 180 ft-lb, that means the motor is spinning roughly 3,500 rpm and the gear ratio is much taller at 1.8:1 or so. That brings peak torque at the rear wheel to 324 ft-lb, not considering transmission drag. Now consider that it weighs substantially more than a 600cc bike…

        • Ken says:

          A 1290 SuperDuke is an unfair comparison 1. It’s a far more expensive m/c 2. It makes way more power and it’s probably lighter too, so yep there’s a good chance it will smash this electric bike. Hardly surprising.
          But when you look at the numbers for a comparable 600 the electric machine stacks up very well.
          Also, with the electric bike, there are minimal transmission losses because it doesn’t have any transmission. And in addition maximum torque is available on demand without having to change gears or spin the engine up to its peak torque rpm.

          • todd says:

            Exactly. I chose something with much less engine torque but higger horsepower to show that power is what provides acceleration, not torque. If torque is all it took, you could adapt some pedals to your motorcycle and double or triple your torque “at the crank”.

        • slipjoint says:

          Have you seen the rear sprocket on this thing? there is zero chance overall ratio is 1.8 to 1. The motor is direct drive with no primary reduction mentioned, your first estimate is definitely closer.

      • Joe Bogusheimer says:

        Torque is not a measure of acceleration. It is a measure of rotational force. Torque can be multiplied or divided by gears, chains and sprockets, CVTs, etc. A ‘crankshaft’ (or motor shaft) torque figure is meaningless without looking at the gears it has to through to get to the rear wheel

        HP is a measure of power, the ability to do work in a unit of time. Work like accelerating a motorcycle.

        The main advantage of the e-bike is that it typically will produce its maximum torque (and thus decent power) at much lower RPMs than an ICE.

  9. Reginald Van Blunt says:

    D.E. Why are my comments being delayed for much more than a couple hours each time I participate in this exchange ?

  10. dt-175 says:

    my concern is those 180 lbs of tork. who this side of a motogp/pro stock bike jockey has the throttle control to lay that all down safely while leaned over?

    • Jeremy says:

      Many riders are routinely dealing with these kinds of torque levels. I don’t see why this bike would present any new challenges in that regard.

    • Stinky says:

      Traction control would be sooooo easy with an electric bike compared to an ICE bike. It’s ride by wire (obviously), no ignition retard, fuel cutback. It has sensors (I guess) to allow battery charge when using the brakes or chopping the throttle. I watched this bike with Jay Leno aboard, he’s no Valentino Rossi and he didn’t seem to have any problems.

  11. Rapier says:

    A local dealer has a 2018 ZX14 on the floor for $11,999. Just saying.

  12. mechanicus says:

    13K? If it works it will sell.

  13. joe b says:

    Question. with a normal mc, you pull in the clutch, rev the engine, dump the clutch and you can burn out or wheelie. on an electric machine like this, does it even have a clutch?

    • mickey says:

      The Zero S I test rode had no clutch, it was gas and go, and no gears just linerar acceleration and decelleration.

    • Magnus says:

      Well, my Zero doesn’t have a clutch but I have no issue doing burn outs or wheelies. Just lean forward or backwards and twist the throttle.

    • Selecter says:

      No clutch. An ICE needs to keep running… hence separating it from the transmission/drive with a clutch. With an electric motor, it can just drop down to 0rpm and stop.

    • Rhinestone Kawboy says:

      Most of today’s electric motorcycles do not have a transmission as in gears like an ICE bike EXCEPT the Brammo Empulse or later reincarnated as the Victory Empulse. They had a 6 speed transmission to allow riders to be more comfortable with the switch to electric, it really wasn’t much for improvement in performance. I’m not sure whether the Empulse still exists as both those companies ceased production.

  14. Tom K. says:

    Yeah, but will I be able to get one of these serviced at my local Excelsior Henderson dealer in ten years?

  15. arrowrod says:

    I’m really old. For me a PAS bicycle is what I ride. About 25 mph, helps my fitness, Good enough.
    See the Luna Apollo. I already have a 150mph motorcycle.

  16. Grover says:

    Probably one of the better adaptations of electric power is the Sportbike. Most guys ride up and down the canyon on their Sportbike and then head home. Not often do they cross three states in one day in touring mode (not that it can’t be done.) Some will still balk at the price when low-mileage 600 and 1000cc Sportbikes are available at 1/3 to 1/2 the price and can be serviced in almost any city by an established network of dealerships.

  17. Reginald Van Blunt says:

    This is a toy with performance, therefore many of the more practical perameters for purchase are irrelevant. The time has come to ask oneself ‘ why not ? ‘ . A new kind of performance. I dunno – – – -.

  18. mickey says:

    Hmmm 2 of these or 1 Livewire. Choices, choices

  19. Bart says:

    So Dirk,
    You in line to test one of these vs. a performance-comparable ICE bike?

  20. GreenMan says:

    120HP, 180 pound/feet of torque at practically 500RPMs!!!

    Am I the only one who’s seeing this or what? For comparison, the mighty Hayabusa makes ‘only’ 115ft/lb of torque at 7,100RPMs.

    Heck, even Rocket III with its mighty 2.3L triple makes just 163ft/lb at 3,000RPMs and peaks at 140ish HP @ 5,000RPMs.

    This electric bike’s engine has more in common with The Rocket III’s mighty 2.3L than CBR600RR or ZX6R’s 600cc 4 bangers.

    Imagine that!

    It’s a whole different game. This bike is in a league of its own and I, for one, would LOVE to throw my leg over one someday…

    • Joe Bogusheimer says:

      Those torque numbers are meaningless without taking gearing into account. I’d be willing to bet 1st gear overall gearing for the bikes you mention (including the Rocket III) is quite a bit lower than it is for the electric bike. Someone further up did the math.

  21. Provologna says:

    Nice.

    Obviously e-bikes have very different maintenance costs and needs vs. ICE powered bikes.

    What is the estimated cost for battery replacement? If lithium ion batteries are like other batteries, shelf life correlates to passage of time and miles driven, i.e. magnitude of charge cycles. IOW, the greater is frequency of use/recharges (mileage), the less is battery shelf life.

  22. Dave says:

    Lithium batteries are both recyclable and landfill safe. As electric.vehicles proliferate, electric utilities will change to meet demand, the way they do now with urban development (one large building going up is a large and instant strain on a power utility).

    The light at the end of the tunnel is when volumes reach a point where the battery cost comes down. Compared to an ICE vehicle, electrics are simple to make and will be cheaper. That this thing can be sold for $12k is practically a miracle, even if there’s little profit in it right now. Onward!

    • sbashir says:

      All the lithium in the world is controlled by China. This bike is also made in China. There is no light at the end of the tunnel.

      • Dave says:

        If the China angle were a real problem, it’d have already played out. I’ll bet you typed that message on a device that was made in China, powered by a lithium battery..

    • Joe Bogusheimer says:

      How big does the Li-Po/Li-Ion battery business have to get before we see these economies of scale? Li-ion batteries are made in huge quantities now, but they still make up a big percentage of the price of any electric vehicle. And judging by the pricing on Tesla and Zeros with different battery options, they’re still really expensive in large sizes. I wonder how much more they can be brought down?

      The other parts of the drivetrain of an e-bike should be cheaper to produce in quantity than ICE bikes. Motors and gear boxes contain a metric shit-ton of precisely machined parts which are expensive to make. Unfortunately, batteries continue to be expensive. Of course, you also have to factor in your much lower ‘fuel’ cost with an e-bike.

      • Jeremy says:

        Most battery packs of any size are made from an array of small cylindrical battery cells that don’t look much different than your typical AA and, as you point out, are already produced in massive quantities on huge assembly lines. Zero uses a packet battery cell, also a mass produced item. There are very few cost improvement gains to be had at the cell manufacturing level. And they are still very expensive.

        Those cells then need to be assembled into a matrix that delivers the desired voltage and packaged into a battery pack that gets fitted to the vehicle. This is where economies of scale could still come into play. The problem is that (unless the industry decides on a handful of modular arrangements that could be adopted by many manufacturers) the scale in question would be limited to a manufacturer’s own production of their proprietary cell arrangements and battery pack designs.

        I think they are going to remain expensive for a long time. Someone might get brave in the motorcycle world, put the chicken before the egg and price the bikes at a point that they estimate would sell in sufficient numbers to get them the quantities they need for the economies required for the price – pass the savings onto the customer before the savings are ever realized or are even certain they can be realized. But that would take a giant like Honda, who doesn’t seem very inclined to risk these days, or a small private company with tremendous amounts of equity behind them and a Hail Mary, do or die outlook on success and failure, a rare thing in the motorcycle world.

  23. paul says:

    I need to know what would happen if we all went out and bought an electric car and an electric motorcycle. So, we are talking about a potentially huge number of units worldwide. Is there realistically enough material available with which to manufacture batteries? What about the effect on the environment with all of these toxic metals when the batteries are worn out?

    I feel that this hasn’t been thought through, because the amount of material, some of it rare and quite toxic, would be immense beyond imagining.

    Also, where is the electricity to charge all these batteries coming from?

    • Jeremy says:

      A lot of material from expired batteries can be recycled.

      Whether we are talking about the rare materials used for producing batteries (yeah, there’s enough) or the process of drilling for and refining crude, there is plenty of toxins and environmental damage to go around.

  24. Tim says:

    Like Steveinsandiego, I’m a little too old for a sport bike, but for someone who wants a sport bike, this one might make some sense. Let’s be honest, even most younger people can ride a sport bike for only so long before the discomfort sets in, and a range of 100 to 200 miles is probably about all the average butt can take with that kind of riding position. For touring or adventure bikes, electric motors still don’t make much sense given their limited range, but for a sport bike application, the range is getting close to where it may make sense for some riders.

    • Curtis says:

      I imagine there are a number of folks who’d want to see this in a more upright, naked bike. I’m sure there’ll be a time for that. But for now, I guarantee sportbike styling (i.e. full fairings) are part of what gets these their really decent range. We’d be wishing for more, if these were nakeds. Hopefully future battery improvements will give us a range of styles with the…range.

    • Chris says:

      Just love it when people who’ve never ridden it tell me how uncomfortable my ZX-14r is. I’m 70. Fortunately, my mind hasn’t caught up with my body age-wise. Never will, I’m hopin’. And I still accept new innovations and ideas without the, “…but that’s not how we used to do it.” I’d love to try out a Lightning Strike. You can’t ride with your eyes.

      • Tim says:

        Chris, try riding a compact sport bike sometime. I rode a ZX-6R not that long ago, and a half hour was about all this 59 year-old body wanted. your ZX-1400 is more stretched out with higher bars. It’s not all that much different in riding position than my BMW K1600, just a bit more body-lean forward. I know there are exceptions, like the guy who has ridden his Yamaha around the world a few times on an R1.

        • Chris says:

          You’re right, Tim. I rode a 600 once, but the screeching chainsaw-on-steroids exhaust drove me off before cramps could set in, so I never considered the compact aspect of some sporties. Got a nice Corbin seat for the 14 and I can ride for hours.

  25. charger_john says:

    Looks like they are trying to go the Tesla route – making the bike cool & sporty – instead of just politically correct for being electric. I’m not in the market but I could see wanting this, especially if they can keep the 200 mile upgrade in the sub-500 lb range.

  26. steveinsandiego says:

    i was wide-eyed when i read about this scoot earlier. too bad i hate clip-ons, and too bad, at my ripe ol’ age of 70, i’ve encountered a balance problem; ergo, i’ll be much safer and more comfortable on three. wet weight is a problem too.

  27. Rapier says:

    The nature of cost of these things makes it hard to imagine this isn’t a loss leader but that begs the question, why? Where is the light at the end of the tunnel profit wise? When the majors step in no boutique maker is going to be able to compete on price.

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